Summary: Our group is attempting a complete run of the Great Pendragon Campaign using 5th edition rules. Players are Matt, Mark, and Lilith. I am the GM.
The third year in the Uther Period, with Uther Pendragon as king of Britain.
Our current roster of characters:
- Sir Eleanor of Dinton, played by Lilith.
- Sir Conmorl of Winterbourne Gunnet, played by Matt.
- Sir Aeron of Pitton, played by Mark.
Overall events, King Uther’s bastard son Sir Madoc leads a big naval operation against the Saxons, but our player knights decide to perform a diplomatic mission instead, accompanying the King northward to Lyndsey and Malahaut to visit Duke Corneus and King Heraut respectively. They tell the tale of Excalibur to these rulers, trying solicit alliance with King Uther based on the mantle of the Sword of Victory. This goes well with Duke Corneus, but not so great with King Heraut. More courtly skills get a workout. Our knights are still pretty young and not particularly glorious, so a lot of courtly skills had failed rolls. On a hunt with King Heraut, Sir Conmorl is ambushed and kidnapped by bandits, and Sir Eleanor and Sir Aeron ride out and rescue him.
As the knights begin to look around for likely matches in marriage, this is when I started keeping some more detailed records of the other families in Salisbury, using a shortened year-end procedure to randomly determine what was happening with births, deaths, and marriages in the other peer households. This has over time turned out to be a lot of work and a lot of lonely fun, but I’ve kept it up throughout the campaign and have a pretty robust history of families and relations between the various households in Salisbury.
Sir Aeron and Sir Eleanor both get married this year. At this point, we have the conversation about the childbirth table, which includes a 10% chance of death in childbirth for the mother. Lilith is not interested in having her knight die on a random chance from a once-a-year roll, so we rule that player knights are exempt from the death in childbirth result.
Thoughts: This was an interesting session! The heavy emphasis on diplomacy was interesting, but the reaction of the rulers is pretty heavily scripted in the book. I decided to start to step afield from this and allow the player’s rolls to have a larger effect on the attitude of the non-player characters they are interacting with. This decision gives a lot more agency to the players, but also had some large unexpected results later in the campaign. Also, it really highlights how weak the diplomacy rules are in the game. Sure, there are social skills, traits, and passions, but how that interacts with another character’s attitude or actions is sketchy at best, completely missing at worst. I pretty much just winged it.